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The New York Times/ Theater Review/ When Puppets Outshine Real-Life Actors

By D.J.R. Bruckner/ January 16, 2002

Alamo
Alamo

" ''The Alamo Piece'' ... Mr. Aguilar is a transcendent Tijuanita, a hairy voluptuary who looks not out of place on a divan but can expand to cosmic size when the gringo lusts after her. Mr. Aguilar also plays both of her brothers, one of them a dope runner. But it is when he activates the puppet of one brother that you suddenly realize that the manipulated object is the most living character on stage...

''The Alamo Piece,'' ...was really a demonstration that in the space occupied by Sigfrido Aguilar and Jim Calder the laws of physics don't apply... In a word, Mr. Aguilar and Mr. Calder are doing what they always do: exploring the limits of illusion and seeking ways to extend those limits."


The New York Times/ Theater in Review/ "SANCHO & DON"/ May 18, 1994

D. J. R. Bruckner

 

"A few things Sigfrido Aguilar and Jim Calder do in "Sancho and Don" appear to be simply impossible, and that is the point of it all. Don Quixote and his servant are the most transparent of subjects in their play, which is really about theatrical movement... It is a zippy hour of fun that gently mocks laws of physics and the faith we have in our own senses."


Regarding Sigfrido Aguilar by Steve Smith, 23 May 2008

            It was my great, good fortune to cross paths with Sigfrido Aguilar in the autumn of 1971. I was a student at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and he was one of my instructors. I was 20 years old; he was, and is, ageless. His official class title was “Pantomime”, but he taught us so much more than that esoteric art.

            He taught that the language of clowns is Mime, and that the instrument for that ‘voice’ is our body. He gave us all a new perspective on how to perform in the vast arenas that the huge, three-ring circus required. He showed us that bigger isn’t always better, but that clarity of movement, of ideas and story were crucial. He taught us how to speak volumes without ever uttering a word.

            After the school’s graduation, I was awarded a one-year performance contract with ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’. As exciting as that experience was, I knew I was still lacking all of the necessary performance tools to be better than just good. I kept a written correspondence with Sigfrido during that season on the road, and even though I was offered another contract for Ringling in 1973, I decided to respectfully decline and travel instead to Patzcuaro, Michoican in Mexico. Sigfrido had invited me to be one of 6 students at his relatively new school, Estudio Busqueda de Pantomima.

            The following 6 months were some of the most challenging, stimulating and creative I have ever known. Sigfrido gently pushed us to be better than we thought we could be. He encouraged us to focus on what we, as individual artists, did best. He motivated us to bring new performance pieces to class each week. He insisted that we keep our work authentic, genuine and always anchored to the truth.

            Now, 37 years after first meeting this amazing teacher, writer, performer and artist, I still carry his influence in my work and in my life. I will attach my CV, but after my time with Sigfrido, I was propelled into a whirlwind career that has included being the Goodwill Ambassador for Ringling Bros. Circus; 10 years as Dean of the Clown College, and eventually director of Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus. There was also a 7 year run as a Children’s Television Host, for which I received 5 Emmy Awards; writing & directing 2 plays for the Goodman School of Drama; creating, producing & performing a critically acclaimed one-man clown show; spending 7 years as a Creative Consultant & Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines; and currently in my third year as co-creator and director of the Big Apple Circus based in New York City. All of this has been built on the foundation of the lessons I learned from Sigfrido Aguilar.

            Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  Sigfrido gave me the most precious gift of all ~ the confidence to believe in my dreams and myself.

Sincerely,
Steve Smith

Dean: Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College


Winnipeg Free Press / Festival of Contemporary Mime / by Reg Skene

Winnipeg, Canada / Gas Station Theatre / June 6, 1985

Ocumicho

"Considerably more vital and original is the piece -"OCUMICHO"- presented by Mexico’s Comediantes Pantomima-Teatro, under the direction of Sigfrido Aguilar.

Unlike most of the participants in this festival, Aguilar has been little influenced by the dedicated abstractions of Etienne Decroux. He and his company create sharply physical images, as startlingly life-like as those in a nightmare, and, at times, as terrifying...The world created by Aguilar’s images is surrealistic, but it has its own logic, its own unity and its own strong rhythmic patterns. This is mime work of real emotional power."


oobr (THE OFF-OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW)/ "The Wild" /by John Michael Koroly

"Sigfrido Aguilar, as Noah, performed beautifully an otherworldly sense of movement, implying he was foreign not just to the castaway's culture, but to the corporeal realm as well."


unomásuno / EL LIBRE VUELO DE LA FANTASIA / Patricia Cardona

Ciudad de México / 21 de junio de 1983

Lo Mexicano en la Calaca

" La Pantomima-Teatro de Sigfrido Aguilar está anclada en la tierra, como lo están las danzas orientales. ... Pierde contacto con la inmediatez y se convierte en un gesto atemporal, significativo universalmente. Es posible que en Sigfrido Aguilar esto ocurra porque por sus venas corre la cultura oriental, la actitud cósmica, totalizadora de lo indígena, que responde a la lógica interna de los impulsos orgánicos. ... "Lo Mexicano en la Calaca" ... No cabe duda de que el espectáculo integral de la fisicalidad de Sigfrido Aguilar ofrece la posibilidad de explorar, para descubrir, un gesto autónomo, ajeno a las influencias culturales extranjeras. Es un teatro donde cabe el libre vuelo de la fantasía, donde los límites serían exclusivamente los de la propia imaginación."


El Día / TRAS BUSQUEDA, UNA REALIDAD: COMEDIANTES PANTOMIMA-TEATRO / Raquel
García Peguero

Monterrey, Nuevo León. México / Noviembre de 1982


" "Lo Mexicano en la Calaca" : una ruptura total de lo tradicional, un choque de emociones, un reencuentro con nuestra escencia."

 


 

a.m. / 7 de diciembre de 1978 / Dr. Louis H. Campbell / Guanajuato, Guanajuato.


"México tiene en Sigfrido Aguilar un excelente mimo, que junto con Cantinflas, constituye la más representativo de esta manifestación artística en los ámbitos internacionales."


 

James Donlon, Director of Movement

Professional Actor Training Program.

Department of Dramatic Art, University of California, Santa Barbara - USA.

"I consider Sigfrido Aguilar to be one of the most important artists not only in Mexico but on the international level in the field of movement theatre. His work as a master teacher and director is noted throughout North America and elsewhere in the world. Mr. Aguilar has influenced generations of Mexican and American performers and teachers since the early 1970’s. His work is visionary, socially constructive, and culturally elevating. The internationally recognized Estudio Busqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. is vitally important to the professional education of Mexican artists."

 


 

"México, D.F. julio 25 de 1979.

Sigfrido Aguilar, director del

Estudio Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.

Tenemos antecedentes de la brillante labor que viene desarrollando ese Estudio
Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. que con tanto éxito dirige usted en esa ciudad. Reciba una calurosa felicitación por los beneficios que su Estudio Búsqueda aporta a la Cultura Teatral de nuestro país."


José Solé, Director de la Dirección de Teatro del INBA.

Alejandro Bichir, Jefe del Departamento de Teatro Foráneo.

 


"Sigfrido Aguilar’s Mime-Clown Theatre Workshop from May 30 - June 30, 1989.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do an in-depth study of creating clown-theatre with one of the master teachers of the twentieth century... Five full weeks of classes and rehearsals that will culminate into a fully produced ensemble performance."


Michael A. Pedretti, president and Artistic Director

Movement-Theatre International.

 


 

"Sigfrido Aguilar is a disarmingly quiet person who operates with modesty and persistence. In Sigfrido, I find a man of artistic sensitivity. He has personal integrity, tempered with a delightful sense of humor... Mr. Aguilar has been a valuable addition to the North Carolina School of the Arts. I commend his work to you."


Bob Francesconi, Acting Dean (1989)

School of Drama.

 


 

"Sigfrido y su grupo del Estudio Búsqueda de Pantomima-Teatro A.C. han recobrado la tradición de la pantomima y dentro de esta han innovado técnicas contemporáneas con las cuales presentan trabajos de calidad."


Luis de Tavira, director

Departamento de Actividades Teatrales de la UNAM (1982)

México, D.F.

 


 

"Sigfrido Aguilar more than lived up to his very impressive credentials and entirely fulfilled the faculty’s expectations. He is a superb teacher of movement theatre whose own artistry, coupled with his accomplished teaching technique, inspired wonderful work in our students. Their growth in technique and imagination was very evident in their performance work, both in the class presentations Sr. Aguilar devised and in departmental shows. Student evaluations of his work bore out what was already evident in the results: that he is an accomplished, motivating teacher."


Robert G. Egan, Departmental Chair (1988)

Department of Dramatic Art, University of California, Santa Barbara.

 


 

"What a revelation, then, was "OCUMICHO" in its conciseness, its essential
imagery. The imagery centered on typically Mexican themes (festivals celebrating
death) and more universal ones (the collaboration of big business and military
to exploit the peasants). This viewer had the impression that the performers had
a vested interest in what they were communicating to the audience, that it had
some significance theatrically, yes, but also a significance that radiated
beyond the theatre. ...Sigfrido Aguilar has always had a disarming simplicity
and sincerity, about his teaching, about his person; it is satisfying to find it
now on the stage as well."


Thomas Leabhart, Editor

MIME JOURNAL, Pomona College Theater Department for

The Claremont Colleges - USA, november 1985


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